Apr 132017
 
 April 13, 2017  activities, crafts, Ridvan, STEM 2 Responses »

The Festival of Ridván begins next week, and because it commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s stay in a garden full of roses, I love to do rose crafts and activities with my children to celebrate (like make these rose cookies). Inspired by the roses that were piled in Bahá’u’lláh’s tent each day (so many that His guests could not see each other over them!) I have gathered together a huge list of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes for you. Enjoy!

A huge collection of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes

Rose Crafts

From Living Ideas: DIY Rose Egg Craft

From Crafts by Amanda: Realistic Duct Tape Roses & Cardboard Tube Bouquet of Felt Roses

From Red Ted Art: Paper Towel Roses & Duct Tape Rose Pens

From Messy Little Monster: Celery Roses

From No Biggie: Pipe Cleaner Rose Rings

From Mum in the Madhouse: Simple Paper Roses

From Bellissima Kids: Paper Roses Bouquet

From FabDIY: Coffee Filter Rose

From Self-Reliant Living: Egg Carton Roses

From Mom on Time Out: Hershey’s Kisses Roses

From Kids Activities Blog: Paper Plate Roses

Rose Play & Learning Activities

From Teach Beside Me: LED Roses

From Schooling a Monkey: 3D Rose Model – Biology for Kids

From Mother Natured: Rose Study

From Homegrown Friends: Color Changing Rose Experiment

From Kitchen Counter Chronicle: Make a Book – The Giving Roses

From Nurture Store: Rose Petal Sensory Play Tub

From Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Rose Petal Water Play

From Childhood 101: Rose Playdough

From Crafts on Sea: Rose Scented Playdough

Rose Recipes

From All Done Monkey: Rose Cookies

From Martha Stewart: Ring Around the Rose Petal Fools

From The European Mama: Rose Petal Jam

From Gimme Some Oven: Rose Cake

From Life of a Lost Muse: Rose Apple Pie

From Heather Christo: White Peach and Rose Sorbet

From The Pretty Blog: Homemade Rosewater Marshmallows

From Global Table Adventure: Rosewater Lemonade, Rosewater Tea, Sweet Semolina Cake with Rosewater and Lemon, & Sweet Saffron Custard with Rosewater

From Posh Little Designs: DIY Raspberry Rose Ice Cubes

From A Pumpkin & A Princess: Rose Petal Bath Soak

From Lulus: Coconut Rose Body Scrub

Mar 212017
 
 March 21, 2017  activities, History 3 Responses »

I have always loved history, but I’ve learned that not everyone does! For many, history is simply a collection of boring facts that they have to memorize in order to pass a test. I’m determined that my children not have this negative experience, so I try to make history fun by doing hands on activities with them. For example, when studying early US history, you could throw a Dolley Madison party! These fun activities are a great way to bring history to life and to teach children about one of our most colorful first ladies.

Throw a Dolley Madison Party! | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies?; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Don’t miss a giveaway at the bottom of this post!

Throw a Dolley Madison Party

Dolley Madison was the wife of James Madison, our 4th US president, who was in office from 1809 to 1817. Her parties were legendary, so why not throw your own party to learn more about her? Learn more about her with these fun activities.

Dress Up

Dolley Madison was known for her extravagant fashions, like silk turbans with ostrich feathers coming out of them. So be sure to put on your best “fancy” clothes for your party!

Throw a Dolley Madison Party | Alldonemonkey.com

Related Post: Learning about Culture Through Play

Be a Gracious Host

Dolley Madison was incredibly personable and made everyone she met feel like a close friend. No wonder her parties were so popular! In fact, they were known as “crushes” because so many people tried to squeeze inside the White House to attend!

Eat Ice Cream!

Did you know that we have Dolley Madison to thank for making ice cream such a popular dessert here? She even served the tasty treat in fancy pastry shells – maybe an old-fashioned version of our ice cream cones?? Savory flavors were also popular back then, so if you are really brave you could try Dolley Madison’s favorite: oyster ice cream!

Related Post: 10 History Games

Paint a Portrait

It wasn’t all fancy dresses and parties for Dolley Madison! We can also thank her for saving important government papers and a beloved portrait of George Washington during the War of 1812. Dolley stayed at the White House even when most government workers and local residents fled. She made sure that treasures of the young nation were safe from the approaching British then fled to safety herself. Celebrate by drawing your own portrait of George Washington!

Throw a Dolley Madison Party | Alldonemonkey.com

Read More

Learn more about this brave and kind first lady with these great books!

A wonderful new book of facts and trivia for kids is What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies. It is an engaging and fun book about the women who have made the White House into what it is today. It is fun to see how the role of the first lady has evolved over the years, as well as how these remarkable women have influenced the nation and the world. Some facts are funny (Carrie Harrison was afraid she’d get zapped by the light switches when they first installed electricity at the White House!) while others are inspiring (Lou Hoover was the first woman to graduate from Stanford University with a geology degree and encouraged young girls to follow their dreams). My son has really loved looking through this book, and so have I!

Dolley Madison Saves George Washington is a great book to learn more about Dolley Madison. It tells about her humble beginnings and rise to become the toast of Washington, DC. Readers also learn in detail about her bravery during the War of 1812 and her role in saving treasures from the White House, including that famous portrait of George Washington. Recommended for elementary aged children.

How do you make history fun? Do you have a favorite first lady?

Enter for a chance to win a copy of What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb 202017
 

Purim is coming, and I have gathered together the best FREE Purim printables out there! They are guaranteed fun for you and your kids, as part of your celebrations of this fun holiday. From masks and puppets to coloring pages and activities, there is something for everyone!

Free Purim Printables | Alldonemonkey.com

Free Purim Printables

From Moms & Crafters: Free Printable Labels

From Moms & Crafters: Color-In Masks for Grownups and Kids

From Alpha Mom: Printable Masks

From Chai & Home: Paper Crown

From Ann D. Koffsky: Puppets to Color

From Tori Avey: Finger Puppets

From Kosher on a Budget: 10 Free Coloring Pages

From Dena Ackerman: Purim Coloring Pages

From To the Moon & Back: E Is for Esther Templates and Activities

From Our Jewish Homeschool Blog: Activity Pack

How are you celebrating this year?

 

Purim for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of our annual Purim for Kids blog hop. Visit the posts below for great ideas about sharing this holiday with the kids in your life! Don’t miss our blog hop from last year, and you can find even more ideas on our Purim board on Pinterest:


Participating Blogs

ZinnHouse.com on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Interfaith Purim Plus: A Wide Approach to Spring Holidays
Moms & Crafters: Free Color-in Purim Puppets
Kelly’s Classroom: Better-than-Best Purim
Melibelle in Tokyo: From Shushan with Love
All Done Monkey: Free Purim Printables

Jan 232017
 

Thank you to Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes for this post on how to organize a multicultural kids event in 5 easy steps!

Living in large cities provides ample opportunities to attend a variety of multicultural events. However, living in small towns, not so much. Which in turn has motivated me many times to organize a multicultural kids event at our local library or in our home.

My motto is when you lack opportunities you create them, and that’s exactly what I did!

To clarify, I started doing my events at home with my son’s friends, and then I moved on to facilitating events at our local library.

Image Source
Now, let’s get started!

Organize a Multicultural Kids Event in Five Easy Steps

  1. Determine your budget. If your event is being sponsored (see #4), you don’t have to incur any expenses.
  2. Determine what type of event you will be hosting. Here are some examples that I have done:
  3. Set the time and date.
  4. Decide where you want the event to be held:
    • Recreational center (there is usually a fee for this)
    • Your home (no fee)
      • You will have to consider available space in your home, and  how many kids you’ll be inviting.
    • Library rooms.  You can book a library conference room for free.
      • Contact the library and pitch them your idea.  I met with the director and event coordinator with my event proposal.  They accepted and sponsored my activity.
  5. Determine what type of activities you will have:
    • Story time with a book that goes with the event’s theme.
    • A facilitator.
    • Music
    • Crafts
    • Games Around the World
      • Determine what type of games you’ll be playing.
    • Food
      • Will you be serving food? Some places like the library don’t allow you to bring food or drinks.  However, if they sponsoring, they will probably allow it.  Be sure to ask, since this depends on the library.
If all of this is still a bit too much for you just organize a multicultural kids event at your child’s school! Talk to your child’s teacher and just to do it for the classroom.
Image Source

Organizing a multicultural kids event may seem like a daunting task, but once you get it rolling you’ll be so glad you did.

Last but not least, have fun, and enjoy your event!  If I can do it so can you.

Hispanic Heritage Month Community Event at our local library. Little one is always my helper.  He gets up there and participates by reading and helping me.

For more ideas on raising a global citizen take a look at Multicultural Kid Blogs Pinterest page.

About the Author

francesFrances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia.  Shortly before her child turned 4 yrs. old she started blogging about discovering the world through her son’s eyes, hence the name of her blog. She love doing things with her son, and became passionate about teaching him to be bilingual, and to identify with his multicultural identity. She writes about heritage, bilingualism, multicultural children’s book and global culture education with lots of hands-on activities and language learning ideas for kids.

She can be found musing at her blog Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes or on Instagram her new fave social media platform.   You can also follow her on TwitterFacebook  and Google+.

Dec 142016
 

If you are like me, a gift for your child is not only fun, it’s also an opportunity to teach them something. Fun toys that teach coding! Great gifts for book lovers! And so of course I have some great recommendations for you of multicultural gifts that your kids will love and that will also teach them about the world and encourage them to explore it even more. Enjoy!

Multicultural Gifts for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of many of the items below; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Multicultural Gifts for Kids

Spanish Alphabet Print : Multicultural Gifts for Kids

I absolutely adore the alphabet posters from Gus on the Go! We have one in Spanish and one in French hanging in our baby’s room, and she loves pointing at all the adorable pictures! I love that she is learning the Spanish alphabet (and French!) in an organic way, with pictures that correspond to the correct Spanish letters – and it includes the “ch” and the “ll”! And did I mention how adorable the pictures are?? Also available in Hebrew, Greek, and Italian, and you don’t want to miss their fun language learning apps, like Gus on the Go: Spanish for Kids.

What young child wouldn’t want to play with this inviting Plush Basket of Babies from Creative Minds? These soft, 10″ dolls are huggable and fun multicultural gifts for all ages, from very young children in search of a snuggly toy to older kids who love pretend play.

Karen Katz’s books are real favorites around our house. Her bright, colorful illustrations always include diverse characters, and her stories are told in simple language for the very young. I love that she takes her young readers seriously and talks to them about topics like world peace, as in the beautiful Can You Say Peace?. A lovely addition to the library of any little world citizen!

Multicultural Gifts for Kids - Culture Chest

I was so excited to find out about Culture Chest, a subscription service offering multicultural picture books for children ages 3-8. Packages typically include 1-2 paperback books plus an activity. Books are selected with care for cultural relevance and accuracy. I love that the boxes follow the celebration of the heritage months. For example, for November (Native American Heritage Month), our box included two wonderful books related to Native American heritage: Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales and the lovely Navajo legend How the Stars Fell into the Sky. This service makes a great gift to help children learn about other cultures and celebrate their own heritage.

If you want a fun STEM project for your child to work on, you can’t beat the next two multicultural gifts! Japanese Paper Toys Kit: Origami Paper Toys that Walk, Jump, Spin, Tumble and Amaze! is so fun and creative and work well for a range of ages. Each paper toys kit comes with materials and instructions to make 21 different toys – that really move! The projects are easy enough to finish quickly so that kids can start playing with them!

Another great STEM activity kit is the Origami Zoo Kit, which includes the book, 40 papers, 95 stickers, and a zoo map for pretend play with your creations. It is so fun! Perfect for your animal lovers, or any child that likes crafts! I love Tuttle’s origami kits for kids, because they are so colorful and engaging for kids, and parents will love how easy the projects are to put together. The papers already have the patterns on them, plus they come with stickers to decorate once you are finished. And kids will love playing with their animals at the “zoo” afterwards. Hours of fun!

Older children will love All About Thailand: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids. It is packed with all kinds of fun learning activities about Thailand, from stories and songs to recipes and games. Kids can practice speaking a few words of Thai, learn more about elephants, or make their own shadow puppets! This is one my son really enjoys reading, and that I steal from my kids’ room to read for myself! Would also be perfect for the classroom or a home school unit.

Atlas of Animal Adventures: A collection of nature’s most unmissable events, epic migrations and extraordinary behaviours is simply gorgeous. Young children will love the detailed illustrations, while older children will pore over the detailed maps and information about animals from around the world. This is one of those books kids will keep coming back to because there is always something new to discover!

I’ve reviewed this album previously, but it is one that we pull out every holiday season, because everyone in the family loves it. Celebrate The Season: Multicultural Songs For The Holidays By Daria is a beautifully done collection of traditional holiday music from around the world that will have everyone singing along. It is a nice mix of upbeat songs and more gentle tunes, with wonderful instrumentals and Daria’s warm, resonant vocals. Not to miss! These CDs make great multicultural gifts to stick in your loved ones’ stockings!

Dec 052016
 
 December 5, 2016  activities, Sacramento No Responses »

What is a parent-child date night? Simply a way to do something special and reconnect with your child. Sometimes we get so busy with our day to day routines that we can forget that these are not the end themselves, only the means. It’s helpful to take a step back and spend some special time with our children. This is especially true when you have multiple kids! When there is a new baby, for example, older kids will really enjoy the extra attention.

Family Bonding" 10 Parent-Child Date Nights | Alldonemonkey.com

Here are some fun parent-child date night ideas, but keep in mind that the most important thing is spending special time with your child!

Disclosure: I received complimentary passes to VIP Night at Century Arden 14 & XD Theater; however, all opinions are my own.

Parent-Child Date Night Ideas

  1. Go to a live show, like monster trucks or Disney on Ice
  2. Have fun at bowling or a video arcade
  3. Take a cooking or computer class together – they will love seeing you learn something, too!
  4. From Kid World Citizen on Creative World of Varya: Super Noche!
  5. From Moms and Crafters: Playdates with Mom
  6. From Adventures in Mommydom: Mommy-Son Mini Golf Date Night
  7. From Adventures in Mommydom: Daddy Daughter Date: Scavenger Hunt
  8. From Gianna the Great: “When I take my granddaughter out for a ‘date night’ we go have coffee/hot chocolate and a bookstore.”
  9. From Bicultural Mama: “My daughter had been asking me for a ‘Girls Night Out’ so a couple weekends ago she and I went to dinner at the restaurant of her choice, then went holiday shopping at the mall for daddy, then went home to watch Zootopia on Netflix.”
  10. Go to the movies! The boys and I had a blast attending VIP Night at the grand re-opening of the Century Arden 14 and XD Theater here in Sacramento. It was fun to get a sneak peek at this totally refurbished theater, with 14 wall-to-wall screens and custom digital surround sound. But what we loved the most was the luxury loungers – no joke, each seat is an electric-powered recliner, complete with cup holders and footrests.

Family Bonding: 10 Parent-Child Date Night Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

I am nearly 6 feet tall, and often feel uncomfortable in theater seats, plus I am always self-conscious of blocking the view of people behind me. Not so here! I had plenty of room to stretch out and not worry about those behind me – or in front! Aren’t you tired of having to stand up or shrink in your seat to let someone else pass by? (Or okay, let’s admit it – aren’t you tired of being the family that arrives late and makes everyone else stand up or shrink in their seat so you and your wiggly kids can pass by?) I was amazed at how wide the aisles were – all of them, not just those in the middle of the theater. What luxury!

Family Bonding" 10 Parent-Child Date Nights | Alldonemonkey.com

And if you have picky kids in your family, you will also appreciate the self-serve concession stand, where you can get your order just how you want it. So next time you are headed to the theaters, check out the new Century Arden 14 and XD Theater for movie watching in style!

Oct 242016
 
 October 24, 2016  activities, Sacramento 11 Responses »

Giveaway for tickets to see Disney on Ice in Sacramento

Take your kids on a magical adventure around the world with Mickey and Minnie Mouse as your tour guides with Disney on Ice: Passport to Adventure, coming soon to Sacramento!

On the itinerary? Exploring the African Pride Lands from The Lion King with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyaging deep under the sea to Ariel’s mystical underwater kingdom from The Little Mermaid, and touring London with Peter Pan and Wendy before flying to Neverland to meet up with Tinker Bell. And don’t forget traveling to Frozen’s Arendelle for an extraordinary adventure with sisters Anna and Elsa, their friend Kristoff and everyone’s favorite, huggable snowman Olaf.

I’m excited to see so many favorite Disney characters in one show, plus it will be our first chance to visit the brand new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento! We’ve been following the progress as it was being built, so I can’t wait to check it out!

Disney on Ice Sacramento

Photo courtesy of Feld Entertainment

We are giving away tickets to the opening night show! Be sure to scroll all the way down to find out how to enter!

WHEN: Thursday, November 3 – Sunday, November 6

Thursday, Nov. 3,  7:00 PM

Friday, Nov. 4, 7:00 PM

Saturday, Nov. 5, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

Sunday, Nov. 6, 12:00 PM & 4:00 PM

WHERE: Golden 1 Center – 547 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at just $20! Special Opening Night discount tickets available for 50% off for select seating (not valid for VIP/Front Row levels). All seats are reserved; tickets are available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745- 3000 or visit the Golden 1 Center Box Office.

*tickets prices are subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

Visit Disney On Ice for more details about this show and the full line up of Disney On Ice productions for the 2016-2017 season.

Disney on Ice Sacramento GIVEAWAY

Congratulations to our winner, Jennifer F!
We are giving away a pack of 4 tickets to the opening night show in Sacramento on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7 pm. All you have to do to enter is comment on this post, telling us which Disney character is your child’s favorite! Giveaway ends midnight Pacific Time on Sunday, October 30. Winner will be randomly selected from entries. 

Sep 082016
 
 September 8, 2016  activities 4 Responses »

Yes, I freely admit that we have gotten caught up in the Pokemon Go craze, and I am not ashamed. I actually have a lot of fun playing with my kids, and it’s a great way to get them out of the house and exploring our city. Many parents I talk to, though, are hesitant to let their kids play because of concerns about safety, etc. Of course you have to decide what is best for your family and your situation, but I have found that Pokemon Go – in moderation – is a fun way to game with kids. Here are some lessons I’ve learned, as well as tips, from other parents.

Pokemon Go: Top Tips for Parents | Alldonemonkey.com

Pokemon Go: Top Tips for Parents

1. Stay involved: For young children especially (my son is 6), it’s essential that you play with them. Pokemon Go is different than any game we’ve played before, a kind called “augmented reality,” where the game world is layered onto the real world. As you reach new levels, new elements are introduced, so you need to be involved to stay aware of what they are playing – and where they are wandering off to in search of Pokemon.

2. Use common sense safety rules: Because the player is glued to the phone during the game, you have to make sure your child is watching where they are going so they don’t trip and fall or walk out into traffic.  You also need to make sure they don’t go into places they aren’t supposed to, either trespassing or going into someplace dangerous like an abandoned building. And we’ve all heard about people being robbed or assaulted because the thieves were counting on the fact that players don’t paying attention to their surroundings while they are playing. The best thing to do is to have them play with someone else – you, if possible – so that someone is always watching out for what is happening in the real world.

3. Make sure you are following the rules, too: Once you know where the Pokestops are, it can be tempting to turn your phone on at a stoplight to get a few more Pokeballs, but make sure you are setting a good example for your kids (and staying safe for your own sake!) by not playing while you are driving or doing anything else that should have your full attention, like crossing the street with your kids.

4. Decide when to play: A friend and I have spent a lot of time discussing this – if you make the rule that your child can only play with you, then expect a lot of demands on your time! Some ideas to make this manageable are 1) let them play while you’re in the car running errands or going to and from school, 2) have a time on the weekends when you play together while taking a walk or playing at the park, and 3) know where the hot spots are in your area and do quick visits once or twice during the week.

Chances are there are Pokestops at your child’s school, the local library, the grocery store, the park, the mall, and so on – basically the main places where people spend their time. For example, there are several Pokestops in the park next to my son’s preschool, so whenever I pick him up we do a quick walk to hit the Pokestops and see if we see any Pokemon.

5. Set a budget: Yes, Pokemon Go is free, but they do have a shop inside the game, so make sure you lay some ground rules about whether you will be making purchases. We established from the beginning that we wouldn’t buy anything, but lo and behold just a few days ago when we reached Level 12 (yay!) our bag suddenly wasn’t big enough to hold the bigger Pokeballs (“great balls”) that we earned when we leveled up.

We managed to figure out a way to free up some space (used up some of the potions and raspberries we had accrued), but a few days later we hit another snag: We didn’t have space to catch any more Pokemon! Unless, of course, we bought additional storage space (grrr!)

I had no idea there would be any limit to how make Pokemon we could “store.” If you can’t catch Pokemon, you basically can’t play, and by the time you get to Level 12, you are committed to playing the game, so they really have you over a barrel. Yes, technically you can earn Pokecoins through the game that you can use to make purchases, but this is really difficult to do at the lower levels, since it’s unlikely you have Pokemon with high enough points to win battles.

So yes, I did decide to make the purchase ($4.99 for 550 Pokecoins, which was more than enough to upgrade my bag and my Pokemon storage), but I was gritting my teeth the whole time, and wondering if there will be any more surprises like this ahead.

Still, I have to say playing Pokemon Go with my kids has been a really fun, positive experience – for them and for me! Do you play with your kids?

Here are some other great tips, crafts, and activities for Pokemon Go:

From Pragmatic Mom: How to Play Pokemon Go with Kids

From My Joy Filled Life: Teaching Kids to Safely Play Pokemon Go

From Something 2 Offer: Safety Tips for Pokemon Go

From Mother Natured: Educational Pokemon Activities

From Parenting Chaos: Pokeballs Paper Plate Craft and Charmander Blazing Fruit Pokemon Punch

From Kids Craft Room: Pokemon Pebble Craft

From Red Ted Art: Pokemon Book Corners and even more DIY Pokemon Crafts

From And Next Comes L: Pokeballs Coloring SheetPokeball Suncatcher, DIY Pokeball Craft, Pokemon Apps, and Printable Pokemon Action Cards

From Hattifant: Pokemon Evolution Flextangles

Jul 232016
 

Our 5 top picks for families visiting the California State Fair

The California State Fair is a great place for families, and for many it is a cherished tradition to visit every year. After visiting with my young children, here are my top picks that families won’t want to miss!

Disclosure: Thank you to Pebbles Cereal for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families

Kids Park: If you are looking for old-fashioned (and new!) carnival rides, this is the spot! While there are other carnival rides at the State Fair, the Kids Park has tons that are designed just for kids. There are height restrictions on many, but you can still find some, like the merry-go-round, for little ones. If you plan on going on a lot of rides, consider buying a wristband, which gets the user unlimited rides.

Ag Area & Petting Zoo: We spent quite a bit of time in the Agricultural area, which is where kids can see one of the more traditional aspects of the state fair. My kids loved all the stations (most of which are free), where young kids can play in the corn sensory bin or make music with parts from old farm equipment. They can also use props to practice milking a cow, saddling a pony, and roping a steer. You can see the real deal, of course, at the petting zoo, which for many families is a highlight of the state fair. Be aware that once you enter the petting zoo area, all the (very friendly and docile) animals will be walking all around you, which was a new experience for city kids like mine. Many of the animals are a bit, er, overly friendly, so keep an eye on your clothes and purse, or they might get nibbled on! Also, you are very likely to see at least one animal answer the call of nature, so watch your step (and your shoes).

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Camp Smoky: I loved Camp Smoky because it is a little forest oasis in the asphalt desert of the State Fair. It was so cool and refreshing just to walk around in the shade of the trees and listen to the very friendly young rangers teach the kids about the importance of caring for our forests. Kids can pick up a passport, which they get stamped at various stations (like the school house or the forest trail) to exchange for a bandanna at the end . The super cute puppet show teaches kids about fire safety as well.

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Jest in Time Family Stage: We had a chance to watch the clowns of Jest in Time, and they were awesome! My kids were laughing non-stop during this pair’s antics and gentle humor. There is a special kids’ seating area up front, where young helpers can get picked as volunteers. I don’t want to give away anything, but beware of flying toilet paper in the finale!

Pebbles Play

We spent a long time at the Pebbles Play area, located just next to the Kids Park. It is a fun spot for kids to get creative, explore, and enjoy some treats! This summer the Pebbles Play Tour is traveling to major cities across the US – including the California State Fair in Sacramento from July 22 to 24!! 

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

First off, my kids got to build toy guitars out of recycled materials using kits from YOXO®, a environmentally sustainable toy company. (Don’t miss this video of them making music with one of these guitars!)

And what kid (or adult!) wouldn’t want a chance in a real life replica of the Flintstones Flintmobile?? My kids love pretending to drive anyway, but hanging out in the Flintmobile was just on another level.

They also loved these virtual reality – I mean cereality – goggles, which gave them a 360 degree virtual view of Pebbles World. It was their first time trying out anything like this, and it was love at first sight! 

Finally, don’t forget to grab a sample of the ultra fun Pebbles treats (Cocoa Pebbles or Fruity Pebbles) and get your dollar off coupon for Pebbles cereal (where available and while supplies last). Find out when the Pebbles Play tour is coming to your area!

Get creative this summer with the Pebbles Play Tour

Get Creative at the Pebbles Play Tour: California State Fair July 22 – 24, 2016

Where: California State Fair, 1600 Exposition Blvd Sacramento, CA 95815

When: Friday, July 22 – Sunday, July 24, 10 AM – 10 PM

Who: Families of all ages

How: Come and have fun!

Admission cost: Adults $12, Senior (62+) $10, Youth $8, Child (4 & under) Free

For more info: Visit Facebook.com/PebblesCereal/Events

 

Future Events Include:

Houston
Latin Fest, Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002
1 PM – 10 PM, Sunday, August 14
Admission cost: Free

Chicago
Festival de La Villita, Little Village, 26th St. and Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL 60623
Fri. 6 PM – 10 PM, Sat. 2 PM – 10 PM, Sun. 2 PM – 10 PM
Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11
Admission cost: Free

Connect with Pebbles on Instagram or Twitter with @PebblesCereal or by using the #PebblesPlay hash tag.

Find more tips about the California State Fair here!

May 242016
 

Book-Themed Birthday Party Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

Do you have a child that loves to read? Do you want a birthday party theme that doesn’t focus on sugar or toys?  Here are fun book-themed birthday party ideas for your little bookworms, plus a big prize pack giveaway!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary party pack from Brightly for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

Book-Themed Birthday Party Ideas

If your child loves to read as much as mine do, a book-themed birthday party would be a big hit!  It is a great way to celebrate a love of reading with your child and have some fun with a beloved character.  And don’t forget to enter the big giveaway at the end from Brightly, a fabulous website for raising kids who love to read.  In addition to loads of literacy articles and reading lists, in honor of the website’s first birthday, the folks at Brightly have gathered together resources to help YOU throw a book-themed birthday party, easy peasy!

Here’s everything you need:

1. Theme.  The most important step, of course, is to pick which book or series you are going to feature!  Ideally, choose one that the other kids at the party will also be familiar with.  (If your child really wants one that other kids won’t know, you can still make it work, as they will still enjoy the games and activities, though they might not get all the references).  Brightly has party packs and guides for many favorite characters, such as Madeline and even Elmo.  Spaceships and Laser Beams also has tons of great party theme ideas, including book based ones like Harry Potter and The Little Prince.  Tip Junkie has compiled an incredible list of 40 children’s book party themes, and Growing Book by Book has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to book party ideas!

2. Invitations.  Use cute invitations for your theme, like these Duck and Goose ones.  Invitations are a great way to build excitement and ensure that your little guests know what kind of party to expect.  If there are kids that aren’t familiar with your book theme, it also gives them a chance to read it before the party.

Book-Themed Birthday Party Ideas | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Decorations.  What better way to set a mood than with themed decorations?  Brightly’s party packs come with ready made decorations like banners, plus you can add balloons and streamers in matching colors.  I also love these creations ideas for recycling old book pages, plus you can find even more ideas here!  Be sure to set out copies of the theme books.  You could even include a reading corner!

4. Games. There are so many great book-based party games out there.  I love the fun games available in Brightly’s printables section!  I especially like that they work for a range of ages: there are crafts and simple games that even little ones can do, plus mazes and word games for older kids.  You could ask kids to come dressed as their favorite character from the book, and older kids could play book-themed charades.  And don’t forget a piñata, like this DIY Gruffalo one from Mud Hut Mama!

5. Food.  Maybe it’s just because I love to eat, but I think food can be one of the most fun parts of a party!  You can really let your imagination go wild in coming up with book-related creations.  Check out these Gruffalo themed ideas!  You can find more food ideas from classic books here.  Love that Hungry Caterpillar cake!

6. Gifts and Favors. Well, books, of course!  They work well as presents for the birthday child and favors for guests.  The Chirping Moms have great book themed birthday party ideas, including putting customized bookplates in the books you use as favors.  More creative favor ideas here, including “book worms”!  You can find fab birthday book recommendations from Brightly, plus I love these from Growing Book by Book.  You can find even more on my Books for Kids Pinterest board.

Inspired to make your next kid’s party a book-based one?  Share your inspiration in the comments, and find even more birthday party ideas on my Pinterest board!

Birthday Pack Giveaway from Brightly

And now for our big giveaway!  One lucky US winner will win a birthday prize pack that includes a Brightly tote bag, books featured in Brightly’s birthday articles, Brightly balloons, party hats, and a poster of their birthday illustration.  Enter below for a chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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